I don’t admit this often, but I’m afraid.
Today, I am very, very afraid.
I fear for myself and for my family; I fear for my husband who works in New York City, a city which was the target of the largest terrorist attack of my lifetime. I fear for my friends — my queer friends, my straight friends, my black friends, my Latino friends, my Asian friends, and my white friends. I fear for my Christian friends and my Muslim friends, for my Jewish friends and my agnostic friends.
I fear for all Americans.
I fear for all people.
I fear for the world.
But what I worry about most is my daughter. It’s selfish, I know, but that’s what mothers do. We worry about our children. We worry about the quality of their lives today and tomorrow. Today she is good. Today there is food in her stomach, there are clothes on her back, there is a roof over her head, and she holds toys in her hands — toys which are also strewn across our dining room table, all over our living room floor, our kitchen floor, and her bedroom floor. But it is tomorrow that scares me.
It is tomorrow that worries me every day and keeps me awake each and every night.
What sort of world is she going to grow up in?
What will life look like for her?
Well, if she takes after her mama — if she continues to be a strong-willed and independent woman — she will likely be called a bitch. If she is successful, she may be accused of sleeping her way to the top or using her body to better herself, and she may be called a cunt because she has a voice and an opinion — like Eve Ensler, Katie Couric, Elizabeth Warren, or presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.
I know what you are thinking: I’m exaggerating. I mean, this doesn’t happen, at least not today.
Not in my America.
But it does.
When the 2016 presidential race began, it became clear to me how minimized women still are, thanks to what I can only refer to as sexist rhetoric and ignorant-ass comments. You see, Donald Trump once questioned Hillary’s sexual prowess, or implied lack thereof, and her leadership ability: “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband, what makes her think she can satisfy America?”
Carly Fiorina made a similar remark: “Unlike the other woman in this race, I actually love spending time with my husband.”
Ted Cruz implied she should be spanked — not only demeaning her but adding violence to the mix: “You know, I’ll tell you, in my house, if my daughter Catherine, the 5-year-old, says something she knows to be false, she gets a spanking.”
And Trump? Well, Trump added the following gem: “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that as the face of our next president?! I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posed to say bad things, but really. Folks, come on. Are we serious?”
How am I supposed to raise my daughter in this world?
How am I supposed to empower my daughter in this America? This America — where a woman’s worth is still defined in the bedroom. Where a woman is still demeaned by her colleagues and peers. Where a woman is still underpaid. Where a woman’s personal decisions are being controlled by the government. Where a grown-ass woman is being compared to a 5-year-old child.
How can I raise my daughter in an America where someone’s gender is being used as a weapon to underscore why she cannot — and should not — be a Presidential candidate?
Before you jump down my throat about my political beliefs, before you assume I am one of those women who plan on voting for Clinton simply because she is a woman and “we girls gotta stick together,” know this: I was a Sanders supporter.
Hell, I still am. I have no shame in stating that. I will not hide behind it, and I will not pretend otherwise.
My political beliefs do not negate the fact that the way in which we, as a society, are speaking about women — including Hillary Clinton — is wrong. It is damaging not only to one person, or one party, or even one gender, it is also damaging to us as a culture and as a country.
While Hillary Clinton was not my first choice this election season, I see her as my only choice, because I love my daughter, because I respect my daughter, and because I value women’s rights.
Scratch that: I value human rights.
You may want me to be sorry for getting political on you, for coming across so angrily and so harsh, but I am not. I’m not one bit sorry if you think I am a bitch.
I am not sorry for taking a stand.
And I am not sorry I am using my voice or my vote.
This is my America too, and I’m done hearing all of the personal attacks, the party line attacks, the racial attacks, and the sexist attacks.
This is my America too, and for the sake of my daughter, I am speaking out — and speaking up — and I’m not sorry.